The following is a submission from an educator as part of the Your Soapbox feature, which explores the experiences of educators in North Carolina through their own words. Check out more first person stories here, or if you are an educator, submit your own.
The “State” of Teaching
I am a proud first-year teacher, and a cart teacher at that.
I would take a picture of my classroom to show, but I do not have my own classroom due to large class sizes and a facility not large enough to hold us all. I teach 90 students a day whom I love and adore.
I literally scrape by every month to make ends meet with maybe only 10 dollars to spare after the necessary costs (food, rent, gas, etc). If I am sick, I try to not go to the doctor as my copays are $30, which is too much for me to spend.
I would love to get my master’s degree, but cannot afford to get it with my current pay. I teach very low-income students, so I pay for everything they need (pencils, folders, markers, pens, erasers, notebooks, binders and anything else required for my class throughout the semester).
I am not bitter in doing so, but I have to eat and take care of myself too. While I love teaching in the state of North Carolina (I love my school and my location), I do not foresee myself staying here much longer due to the current pay level.
In essence, working in North Carolina is an act of love (like a missions trip) for teachers: I am here because I do not want to abandon these students who are stuck in North Carolina public schools where money comes before effective education.
In the end, North Carolina is only hurting itself; it will be stuck with failing public schools, ineffective educators, and students to whom they show a great disservice all due to greed and poor financial distribution.